White Gold short film review

★★★

Directed by: #LukeBradford

Written by: Luke Bradford

Starring: #RefilweModiselle, #AubreyMmakola, #WitnessMagoswana, #ShadiChauke

Short Film Review by: Corey Bulloch

Gorgeous visuals compliment a revenge tale inspired by the horrific realities of albinism abuse within the African continent as White Gold follows an albino amputee Mansa seeking revenge against the witch doctor who cut her arm off. Writer-director Luke Bradford doesn’t indulge in the revenge genre tropes too vigorously, having his film focus more on Mansa’s trauma and the mentality of a society that overlooks such inhuman crimes. Bradford intends to educate the audience of this barbarity through an emotionally powerful story that sees how superstition and profit become prioritised against human rights. While everything narratively comes together in the end, Mansa’s story does have its weak points in pacing. At times feeling like Bradford who also served as editor is just buying time until the climactic confrontations. Though not exactly specified which country the events take place, cinematographer Scott Milton crafts a striking visual experience for the audience. In location and in performance as you are immediately drawn into the history of these characters, with the use of natural light hightailing the dilapidated environments and skin colour. This camera work allows Bradford to have the albino representation be eye-catching against the ramshackle villages, to give that sense that Refilwe Modiselle and her younger co-stars can be viewed as commodities. However, White Gold never loses sight of the humanity and pain that is being suffered or awaited as Modiselle’s performance as Mansa is captivating, delving into the emotional anguish as she builds strength to be able to confront the witch doctor Natron. Men like Natron claim that Albino body-arts used in rituals can lead to magical healing, while Mansa is left with a severed arm the opening of the film clearly states other gruesome atrocities occur including murder and cannibalism. For such an archaic practice and mindset it is hard to believe such actions could take place in civilised society, that in the age of modern medicine people would resort to such butchery against their fellow man. White Gold, however, is that stark reminder to the cruelty of the human race and the selfishness that drives our behaviour, as even in revenge people are pushed to uncomfortable limits. That unspoken bigotry of the albinos being “different” to everyone else so therefore they are expendable or that their difference allows them to be treated this way since it seems to serve a majority. Bradford doesn’t delve too deep into the social injustice or hierarchy but it's clear how dehumanisation is a factor in this criminal behaviour. The film explores the aftermath of the crime and how this status quo leaves people like Mansa helpless to no access to healing or justice. Bradford creates a believable world out of seemingly unbelievable circumstance from Mansa’s cruel reality though small elements such as Aubrey Mmakola’s portrayal of Natron can seem a little far fetched at times, playing into stereotypes. Effective and eye-opening in a way that will have audiences delve deeper into this subject matter after the credits, Luke Bradford’s White Gold may not maintain its compelling drive throughout but the importance of its message is never lost. Great immersive cinematography and lead performances allow this cinematic realisation of real-life horrors to take hold and get under your skin.

#CoreyBulloch #shortfilm